DENVER — Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart confronted a courtside fan who had directed offensive language towards him at the Pepsi Center during Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.
Smart could be seen jawing with a fan after spilling into the first row while chasing a loose ball in the second half of Boston’s road trip-ending loss. Smart expressed dissatisfaction with arena security for not removing the fan.
"My foot got stuck in a chair and a fan told me, ‘That’s right, stay on the ground, get on your knees,’” said Smart. "Excuse me? You know what I’m saying. I just told him, ‘Listen, just watch the game,’ because, if we retaliate to you guys, or we were on the street, you probably wouldn’t say that.
"I guarantee you wouldn’t say that because we’re grown men just like you. I told the security, they didn’t do anything about it. Just gotta move on. But that’s a problem in the league that we gotta fix because, if we retaliate to protect ourselves, we’re the ones getting in trouble. They’re not. And that’s not right.”
Arena security appeared to briefly interact with a courtside fan but did not appear to remove anyone in the area. Smart said he was not happy with the response.
"I told them who it was, they just looked at him and didn’t even say anything to him, didn’t even get him out of the game. Probably if I was a superstar they probably would have done something but it is what it is,” said Smart. "Like I said, we’re going to end up protecting ourselves eventually and it’s not going to be pretty for the fan and we don’t want that. The league doesn’t want that, we don’t want that as players, but at some point you gotta stand up and you gotta protect yourself as a man.”
Earlier this year, the Utah Jazz banned a fan who directed a similar racial taunt at Russell Westbrook. Smart said he doesn’t want these type of situations to escalate to something more unsightly.
“For you to talk like that, there’s just nowhere in this league for it,” said Smart. “We're out there playing and you guys are coming to watch it, we respect you guys, all we’re asking is to respect us because, if we were on the street, it would be handled differently.”
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